How The School Run Drove Me to Home Education

Well, I should say, “How the Pre-School Run Drove Me To Planning For Home Education” because that’s where we are right now, on that cusp between the final term of preschool and the first term of home schooling, home educating in the UK, our four and a half year old Ameli.

How the school run drove me to home educate

Ameli’s been going to pre-school – a play group in a church – for over a two years now, on and off. She goes three times a week, for three hours. It’s not so short that I can’t do anything with that time and not so long that I can do a lot. It’s just enough time for her to have a fabulous time playing and learning and being part of a group. It’s been a time for us to see her through someone else’s eyes, and a time for her to enjoy – she’s been independent since the day she was born holding her own head up to look around – some of that independence all of the Western world seems to want our infants to have.

When we had to look around at schools and make the decision on where we were going to send her in September, I made two lists. On the one I wrote down the pros and cons for her. On the other I wrote down the pros and cons for me.

My pros were easy: me-time, time with Aviya, time to pursue some of my own interests again. The cons were even easier: SCHOOL RUN. Yip, just the one.*

I hate the (pre-school) run. The mad dash to get ready in the morning. Getting to the school ‘gate’ with my hair unbrushed packed into a tight bun so no one will know. My fingers still sticky from the jam on Ameli’s breakfast toast. The evidence that I’m just not as organised as everyone else looks.

Their kids don’t have pen marks from DIY tattoos. Their hair is in perfect ponytails, not pulled out 6.3 seconds after they were tied up. No one else ever forgets the (empty, because I have no idea what to put it in it now that she doesn’t need a spare change of clothes for ‘in case’, and since she gets a snack and drink from school) backpacks. It really seems to be just me.

But that all I could live with if I could stay in the car and wave her off into the school building. But no. Come rain or shine, I have to stand in line with a bunch of other mothers and fathers, and make small talk.

Folks. I missed that class in school. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to talk about the weather, and I don’t watch X-Factor or Big Brother. And I don’t want to start, just so I can talk to the parents in the school line.

To be fair, my life is unchanged by their presence in it. I’ve become friends with one or two but for the rest, they have no impact on my existence, but I know this isn’t fair to Ameli. She comes home and talks about her ‘best friends’, these people who are so formative to her future in these relationships that form the basis of every other relationship in her life to come. I feel I owe her to at least try.

So I do. But I wear my heart on my sleeve. I think I look and sound like a fool. I look and sound like I’m pretending.

Sorry parents on the school run. My husband normally takes and fetches Ameli, because standing in that line with you feels like there’s a spotlight on me. My husband says you all think I’m really rude and stuck up, because I don’t talk to you much. I just nod and smile. Which he says is “sooooo unlike you!”

He’s right. But whether it’s because I spent my first six months of school run over two years ago now not talking because I was afraid I was going to throw up on you, or if it’s because  I can’t bare to stand and talk about nothing, I apologise. It’s not you, it’s me. And I’m so very glad that we have chosen to home educate, at least in the beginning, so that I don’t have to do it every.single.day.

Also, I have no idea how I spawned such a confident and outgoing child, but I’m sure glad for her that I did.

*my decision to home educate came down to a lot more than just hating the school run. This post is about hating the school run. This was not what made our decision.

Till Next Time!
Luschka

4 Comments

  1. Adele @ Circus Queen May 23, 2014

    It’s interesting hearing the perspective of someone planning to home educate yet having used pre-school. I know there are lots who do but still good to hear about it. We’re planning to home ed and I always said I didn’t think we “needed” pre-school but now that it’s no longer viable for Talitha to go to her childminder’s (too far a drive – baby screams the whole way) we’re starting to think about nursery though we don’t plan for her to go to school later on.

    • Luschka May 23, 2014

      Funny you should say that Adele. I had a friend over this afternoon and we were talking about this very same thing. I don’t think 1+1 have to equal 2 in this situation. School fulfils a purpose, and pre-school fulfilled a purpose for us too. I was really sick when I was pregnant with Aviya and for months barely moved off the sofa. I felt so horrible for Ameli going from on the go all the time to sitting watching Peppa Pig DVD’s (which I still can’t stomach now as a result!) that we decided it would be good for her to have some fun for a few hours a week. She loved it so much that when Avi was born we kept her in so that I could have some one and one time with the new baby. And she just loved it, so we chose to leave her in as there was no reason to take her out. We’re now faced with whether to send Aviya and after much deliberation we decided we will send her, but for a completely different set of reasons: Her current ‘friends’ are all the younger siblings of Ameli’s friends. She lives entirely in Ameli’s shadow, and Ameli is very confident and outgoing and yes, sometimes overbearing. We’d like her to have a go at forming her own friendships, and her own ways,not always influenced by her big sister. If she doesn’t love it as much, or we don’t think it suits her as well, we’ll pull her out. It’s not written in blood, you know?

      Whether people choose to or not, I’m glad we did, and for the reasons we did, and I’m really glad we had the option of this particular preschool. They were so adapting to our ways – like cloth nappies, back in the day – and so on. It was the right place at the right time for Ameli and we’ll see how it goes with Aviya. I don’t think they ‘NEED’ it and I wouldn’t have wanted to send them for full days, but it served a purpose in our lives, and I don’t regret it at all 🙂

  2. Pondering_Kate (@Pondering_Kate) May 25, 2014

    We too are entering our final term (with our oldest) at preschool before home educating next year. Our youngest is 26 months and started the same preschool 2 months ago when he turned 2, just 2 mornings/week which he’ll continue until school-age. Our local preschool is fantastic and sooooo handy (2 minute walk away!). We’ve used it for childcare purposes, as I work from home and I find the ages 2-5 have been v demanding of my time, so for us as a family it serves it’s purpose and both my kids love going. While there are many reasons we’ve decided that home education suits us as a family, I couldn’t face the daily school run to the school suiting my daughter’s needs – it would involve a drive and horrendous parking problem at the school, probably taking up a good 45 mins x2 (of stress) just on the school-run everyday – no thanks! I love being with my kids, and where we live there’s a fantastic support network of home ed families and groups to get involved in. Exciting times!

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